The Franco-Italian Accelerator program: promoting Franco-Italian business relationships

In December 2021, Bpifrance, the Team France Export and the and Elite launched the first Franco-Italian Accelerator for SMEs and midcaps. It aims to develop cross-border synergies through innovative solutions.

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Since 2015, Bpifrance has been offering intensive support programs to help leaders of French SMEs and midcaps capitalise on business growth opportunities in order to develop sustainably. More than 40 Accelerator programs take place every year, each bringing together around 30 leaders. These programs give leaders an opportunity to experience a unique collective adventure, as per the Franco-Italian Accelerator.

What is the Franco-Italian Accelerator about?

This Accelerator is a 12-month support program destined for French managers of industrial SMEs, seeking to develop their businesses in Italy and meet future partners, customers and suppliers. It is particular as it is the first binational program: it is composed of 20 French and 20 Italian companies. Throughout the program, participants attend a series of business meetings in Italy as well as seminars held in the prestigious universities of Sciences Po Paris and Bocconi. These not only provide managers with key information on the market, but also offer a space for building a high-quality network. Moreover, expert talks provide participants with concrete solutions to respond to issues in the current economic context. As a result, managers are equipped with the knowledge and skills required to successfully understand the market.

A first accelerator program successfully completed…

As the name suggests, the Franco-Italian Accelerator program constitutes a booster for activity by strengthening  and accelerating export strategy and cross-border growth. CODRA, a 30-something French company specialised in industrial, scientific and technical computing systems took part in the first Franco-Italian Accelerator program. As a market leader in France, the will to expand businesses abroad came naturally. During a talk at Big, Bpifrance’s annual rendez-vous, CODRA’s Marketing Director Loic Drugeault addressed the difficulties in entering the British market without robust support and guidance. However, “Bpifrance opens doors” so the launch of the Franco-Italian Accelerator was the ideal opportunity to invest in the Italian market with the help of the French bank  and its partners. Indeed, “thanks to a regular follow-up and great availability, we were able to gain between 12 and 18 months of work being a part of this program”.

Why bet on Italy?

Italy represents a major growth driver for French companies. France is Italy’s 1st investor, 2nd largest customer and supplier. According to the French Ministry of Economic Affairs, French exporting activities to Italy have risen sharply, increasing by 20.8% to €38.9 billion in 2022. Moreover, the two countries are geographically close, culturally “close enough” and have many assets in the same industrial sectors. This Accelerator program assists in strengthening ties with Italy and seizing new opportunities for development. Following the success of the first edition, the second the Franco-Italian Accelerator program will be launched in May 2023.